Saturday, November 28, 2009
    First of all, lemme say that Game is one of my favorite MCs. He has always been special to me…since the day one. So I’m really happy that he decided to postpone his retirement. Frankly speaking, I never believed that he would retire. Hip-hop is way too addictive. And Game is the artist who put West Coast Hip-hop back on the map. In my book, he is the realest thing since Tupac passed away. 
    I must say that I’m excited about the Game/Pharrell collabo. Technically, they haven't worked together yet. They have a few unreleased tracks from “The Documentary” session, but those tracks didn’t appear on the album. One of the reasons why Game is “game” consists in his ability to adjust his flow to any beat/other MC’s flow. Now picture an album executively produced by Doc (Dr. Dre), Pharrell and Game: three ill minds working on the same project. I truly believe that R.E.D. will prolly be another classic rap album. 
   Check out the interview below. Game speaks on R.E.D., D.O.C. (Diary Of Compton), Dr. Dre, his collabo w/ Pharrell, 50 Cent and many other things. 

R.E.D. in stores 16/02/2010

Wednesday, November 11, 2009
         What's hip-hop? Some people say that it’s a culture. Other people say that it’s a music/fashion style. I say that it’s a way of life. It’s the way you talk, walk, dream, act, see, breath, hear…live. Hip-hop ain’t restricted within rap, graffiti, break dance & deejaying. It defines the absence of limits as long as you keep it real. It’s about self-expression & experimentation. It’s about being free to be everything you can be. It’s your heartbeat, your inspiration. Hip-hop is…nah, words are way to shallow to express what hip-hop is. So lemme show you… 

Wondamuzik is back in the building!

      Female rap…a lot of people think that it doesn’t even exist, but at the same time a lot of people think that it is something this game really needs. Ladies have always been a part of this movement…since the day one. Do u remember The Funky 4+1? The hip-hop group was formed in 1976 and was the first one to have a female MC, Sha Rock. Old school rap raised a generation of great female MCs. They could rap, they were great role models, entertainers, professionals aaand they challenged men. They didn’t diss them, but ladies raised the bar everytime they held the mike. You can ask me “How?” Well, they say “there's his truth, there's her truth & there's THE truth”. So everytime a female touched the mike and battled w/ a male MC it was kinda cross-examination. It has always been so and will always be…men and women have different vision. Even the same thing is gonna be interpreted in different ways by a man and a woman. So when a man rapped his verse, she was like “Excuse me, but I beg to differ!!!!” and she spitted her 16 bars. Thereby, we had his truth, her truth and eventually the truth. But what happened to that generation of ladies? 

I remember in one of his interviews, Notorious B.I.G. said that the biggest problem of female MCs (those days) was that they tried to be like men. At first I was kinda offended by that remark. Why can’t I be like a man? Well, simply cuz I ain’t one. A man is a man, and a woman is a woman. This is the way it's supposed to be and since hip-hop reflects the world/society, it’s the way it’s supposed to be within the hip-hop community. The new school generation of female MCs is more commercially successful, but they lost the essence of being a female MC. The new generation is nothing but a copy-cat. They do what men do. They tell us the same story using the same expressions, the same vocab. In my opinion, the situation is even worse…they do what MEN WANT them to do. They don’t represent sisters anymore. What they do is nothing BUT a gimmick. It’s okay w/ record labels (as long as they get their $$$), it’s okay w/ male rappers (note: not MCs) cuz they ain’t challenged, they can just relax and get their paper…but is it okay w/ the culture? I don’t think so. The culture is losing one of its powerful voices…in mainstream area. There are a lot talented ladies trying to make their way on top. I’m sure that the bomb called “Female Underground Hip-Hop” is gonna blow up this industry one day just like bebop. It used to be some funky music played by some geeks in New York night clubs, but that funky music took over the whole jazz game and was really influential for a while.

Another “interesting” point is that females shouldn't be around hip-hop becuz it’s disrespectful to them. Oh, yeah? The last time I checked rejection was the best motivation. You wanna call me a “bitch”…well, go head, daddy. I understand you, for real. You have nothing to say, so you try to bring me down, but…it doesn’t mean that I can’t bury you 16 bars under... in the most gentle way, cuz I’m an “L” to tha “A” to tha “D” to tha “Y”. If you treat me like I ain’t ish, I’m gonna prove you that I’m THE ish in the flyest way. 

So I truly believe that female rap is exactly what hip-hop culture needs to get back to being a real thing and to stop being a joke. Ladies of hip-hop challenge gentlemen to be stronger, wiser, more consistent, thoughtful, and real. Since this challenge is gone, all we hear is ringtone rap, commercial crap about fashion brands & trends and wanksta rap. That's why I say that we need that Ladies First thing back. Even though ladies ain’t never run this game, they showed the right direction for years. And look what hip-hop turned into when female voice became less influential…Are you proud of this state of hip-hop? 

Message to my rapping sisters (from Queen Latifah):“Grab the mike and get dumb!!!”

Sunday, November 8, 2009

31 years ago a Belizean boy was born. His name was Jamal Michael Barrow and no one could predict how crazy his life would turn out to be. At the age of 13 he immigrated to the USA, where he got familiar with hip-hop culture and gang banging. In 1998 Jamal “Shyne” Barrow was discovered by Clark Kent in a barbershop. Shyne’s unique voice and flow impressed the producer and Shyne was introduced to Bad Boy Ent. The rapper appeared on a few tracks and was about to release his debut album. But life had something totally different for Shyne in store. On December 27, 1999 Jamal Barrow was involved in a high-profile incident at a Manhattan club which left three people injured and the 21-year-old rapper facing charges of attempted murder, assault, and reckless endangerment. On June 1, 2001, Shyne was sentenced to ten years in prison.

However, Jamal managed to release 2 albums: “Shyne” (2000) & “Godfather Buried Alive” (2004). Living according to the street code, his gangsta music, and his charisma gained him l.o.v.e. & r.e.s.p.e.c.t. among hip-hop fans and criminals. So even though Bad Boy didn’t really support the debut album, it sold moderately well, and eventually went Platinum. Unlike the debut self-titled “Shyne”, his second album “Godfather Buried Alive” had a lot more guest artists and famous producers on it, but it went only Gold. Anyway, the both studio albums revealed young man's talent and gained him loyal fan-base. 

Having served over nine years of a ten year sentence, Shyne was released from jail and on Wednesday October 28, 2009 he was deported to Belize. Some people would be broken & defeated after all that drama…but not Jamal Michael Barrow. He proved to be a stand up type. Serving his time, Shyne got closer to God and decided to change his name of Jamal Michael Barrow to Moses Michael Leviy. Moses revised his lifetime experience and built a character to become a better person. 

On Monday, Nov. 2nd, the Belizean rapper held a press conference at his former high school, Wesley College in Belize City; where he talked about his enlightenment and future plans.

"In life, you are what you are and this is what I am. I don't want to be like Michael Jordan. I want to be like Moses or King David or King Solomon. Those are the guys I aspire to be like. I didn't want to be like the kingpin on my block; I wanted to be like the guy who parted the sea, that's why I chose that name."

"I came up on the streets with guys that gangbanged and were into criminal activity, and those tools never worked. Those tools, you either end up spending the rest of your life in prison or sleeping in a grave. But with the tools that you are getting here as far as education is concerned, that is the ultimate tool and with that tool you can transcend any situation because I am just like you, you dig. I grew up on Curassow Street. When I was coming up we didn't even have toilets. But one of the things my Uncle Finnegan and my father, Prime Minister Barrow, implored upon me was education, education, education, education."

"Look what gangster roll got me. Look where it led me. And I am not telling you what to do because I am not a preacher and I am not everybody's father, but I am exhibit A of what's going to happen if you don't stay in Wesley College, you dig? If you don't go to that sixth form, if you don't try to go to the university you're going to spend the rest of your life in the cooker or you're going to be in the grave. That is what this is about."

Shyne also revealed he's planning to return to music and will not censor his message. "I make music about life. One of the greatest musicians was Bob Marley. There was nothing misogynistic about him. But his music, he talked about some harsh realities some time. He was tough. I would like to make that type of contribution, that kind of Marvin Gaye contribution, you dig? But at the same time we curse, at the same time life is violent, life is troublesome sometimes — so don't expect my music to be sanitized. I am just going to talk about what's going on in the world."

If Robert Kelly is right (& I do Believe that he is right), then we are witnessing birth of a new international leader who will become one of the brightest stars on hip-hop scene. In the words of Malcolm X, “There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time”. And I’m sure that Moses learned his lessons well. 

Currently, Shyne continues to fight for residency in the United States.

What more can I say? Oh, yea…HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOSES!! WE LOVE YOU!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009
      Yea, this Beanie Sigel vs. Jay-Z beef is old news…but what still surprises me the most is some people's reaction. A lot of people didn’t see this coming. And I wonder why…I mean, name the artists who became “the sh*t” w/ the help of Roc-A-Fella. The only people who created the buzz on this label are Jay-Z and Kanye West. Actually, the label was created to release Jay's “Reasonable doubt” and as one of the founders (Roc-A-Fella was founded by Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter, Damon Dash & Kareem "Biggs" Burke) he always made sure to get the best. So there's no surprise that he succeeded. Kanye…well, hate him or love him, but no one can deny that he is a musical genius. He controlled his own “project” as much as it was possible. By the moment he started his rap career he had already been known as a hot producer and songwriter. So I don’t think that Kanye owes his career exclusively to Roc-A Fella. And what about other artists? Roc-A-Fella was founded in 1996…13 years ago. It has signed/discovered a lot of different artists, but they either stayed in the shade of Hova, or got dropped. Those people who had a name before the Roc simply left the label. The same thing goes for the founders. Kareem Burke was the first founder who left the fam. Today not a lot of people even remember his name or know that he was a part of the Roc. Dame Dash didn’t stay for too long either. So why is everyone soooo surprised? This label has never actually helped to build any artist's career except for Jay-Z’s. Yes, Beanie Siegel stayed w/ the Roc for a while, probably he had certain hopes, but it wasn't hard to tell that this situation would occur. As any other artist, Sigel wants to be recognized, he doesn’t want to be under someone, he wants to have his own voice. He has been riding with this crew for a long time, so he wants his dividends. Is it a crime? 

But what's actually interesting…is that major labels run by artists don’t have artists brighter than the “CEO”. Bad Boy Records (Entertainment) is another bright example. The label gained its popularity w/ the help of Notorious B.I.G.’s success and (since Christopher Wallace departed) Diddy  remains the only “star”. During its 16 year history, the label has had a lot of artists, they created some buzz, but they never had a chance to become stars of the show. And I can’t say that former Bad Boy artists are wack. As a matter of fact, the Lox is living proof that they were the sh*t during the Bad Boy era and Sean Combs didn’t give them enough of opportunities.

Are Jay-Z and Diddy fools to lose good artists? No, they are only businessmen. They got their minds on their money, money on their minds. On the one hand, they want to make money, but on the other hand, they don’t want other artists to outshine them.

Am I judging them? No, I just wanna say a word to young artists. When something like this is going on, be smart enough to take notes. A lot of rappers love to say “Somehow the rap game remind me of the crack game”…translation: it's business and nothing personal; if you are sure that you belong to the rap game, be ready to watch your back. Hip-hop lives in the streets, the moment the contract is signed it turns into business…And who told ya that business was a fair play? “I'm a hustler homie you a customer cronie”…do you remember this? I'm not saying that you have to betray your business partners…it's a no no, but I do say that you have to be business educated to know what's going on behind your back. In the words of Malcolm X, “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today”. Think about it…

P.S. A few words from Joe Budden on the situation: “Bottom line is... i'm a fan of both dudes music & will always be... i just dont care to know the person behind the artist, IT NEVER MATCHES”... I think that it's a good point/advice.

I used 2 ♥ him

Common used to love H.E.R. & I used to love H.I.M. (Hip-hop Is My Muse) ... but true love never dies ... this is my L.O.V.E. S.T.O.R.Y.


About Me

They call me Janus cuz I’m a little bit of every opposition. I’m quiet & loud, happy & sad, cocky and shy, rough & ladylike… but most of all I’m hip-hop. I started this blog to share my thoughts and ideas with the world, so feel free to leave your comments and to holla at me. Welcome to my world! Follow me on Twitter